As the defensive battle between the Reynoldsburg High School football team and visiting Gahanna entered the fourth quarter, Raiders coach Buddy White sensed a big stop or a turnover might decide it.
His prognostication came true.
Donovon Hines returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown with 3 minutes, 12 seconds left, and D’Lacy Bass intercepted Gahanna backup quarterback David Miller in the end zone with 30 seconds left to give the Raiders a 21-14 victory Oct. 6.
“You have those games where the offense has to pick up the defense,” said White, whose team improved to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division. “This game here, the defense picked up the offense.”
Gahanna, which dropped to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio, had two other fourth-quarter drives end with fumbles.
Hines’ return for a touchdown broke a 14-all tie.
“I was in coverage, and I saw (Miller’s) eyes, hoping he would throw this way,” Hines said. “He threw it and it fell into my arms and I just hoped I could make it (to the end zone). Thank you to D’Lacy for making that interception at the end.”
Gahanna quarterback Mike Lowery started the contest despite coping with a left arm injury suffered during a 45-8 loss to Pickerington Central on Sept. 29. Miller, a wide receiver, ran a few plays in place of Lowery in the first half but finished the game at quarterback after replacing Lowery in the third quarter.
Miller’s 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Gahanna a 6-0 lead. He finished 11-for-16 passing for 65 yards and rushed 10 times for 99 yards.
“We have to do better with our next-man-up mentality,” Gahanna coach Bruce Ward said. “We’ve got a lot of guys out, a lot of guys banged up, but that’s part of football. There’s not a team in Ohio right now that’s not banged up.”
Gahanna running back Justus Harris was questionable coming into the game with a shoulder injury, but he rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that tied the game at 14.
Reynoldsburg quarterback Justin Henry completed nine of 18 passes for 77 yards and rushed for 25 yards on nine carries.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final GAHANNA LINCOLN 6 0 8 0 14 REYNOLDSBURG
0 14 0 7 21
G—Miller 4 run (kick failed)
R—Bullard 32 run (Philhower kick)
R—Cowans-Wright 6 run (Philhower kick)
G—Harris 2 run (Buckner pass from Miller)
R—Hines 52 interception return (Philhower kick)